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CeMEAS, The 16th Göttingen East Asia Research Salon: The Shifting Relationship between Classics and History: Constructing Historical Continuity in Republican China

30. September 2020, 16:00 - 17:30

Felix Erdt (University of Göttingen, Department of East Asian Studies)

Prof. Viren Murthy (Associate Professor of History, University of Wisconsin-Madison)
Dr. Phil. Dr. rer. Med. Dominique Hertzer (Guest Researcher at the Centre for Modern East Asian Studies, University of Göttingen)

Time: Wednesday, September 30, 4 pm – 5.30 pm
Join us via Zoom, no prior registration required:

In this dissertation project, I investigate how scholars in Republican China tried to construct continuity between the modern epoch and the Confucian past in the context of the intrusion of Western notions of historical progress.
I focus on three scholars from the Sichuan province, Liu Xianxin (1896-1932), Meng Wentong (1894-1968) and Li Yuancheng (1909-1958) who reinterpreted the relationship of classics and history in their historiographical writings in different ways.
Strongly influenced by Daoist thinking, Liu held a cyclical view of history and therefore believed in a future turn that will overcome modernity according to logic of the changing “propensity of times“ . Meng supposed a development of Confucianism through history which culminated in the utopian ideas of an ideal society of the western Han scholars and can served as a blueprint for revolutionary transformation of Chinese society. Li emphasized Confucianism as the core of the cultural identity of Chinese people. Confucianism was constantly changing throughout history and was adjusted to different historical circumstances.

Felix Erdt:
Since March 2017 I am a doctoral candidate and research assistant at the Department of East Asian Studies at the University of Göttingen. My research interests include conservatism, the idea of progress in history and modern Chinese historiography with a focus on late Qing and Republican China. In my PhD I conduct research about Chinese conservatism.I hold a Bachelor degree in East-Asian Studies/China and History, and a Master degree in Modern Sinology from Georg-August-University Göttingen/Germany. As a part of my studies I spent one year each at the Beijing Foreign Studies University and at the National Chengchi University in Taiwan. In my Master-Thesis I researched Liu Xianxin’s criticism of the idea of progress in history.

Viren Murthy
My work probes the historical conditions for the possibility of philosophy and politics in the modern world and in East Asia in particular. I am generally interested in the attempts of East Asian intellectuals to resist modernity through reviving premodern philosophies and religions, such as Buddhism. My first book, The Political Philosophy of Zhang Taiyan: The Resistance of Consciousness, shows how in early 20th century China, Zhang Taiyan, drew on Consciousness-Only (Yogācāra) Buddhism to formulate a theory of revolution. In particular, the book explains how this seemingly ancient body of knowledge is reformulated as China was incorporated into the global capitalist system of nation-states. My more recent project, tentatively entitled, “Imagining Asia: Takeuchi Yoshimi and the Conundrums of Asian Modernity,” examines how philosophies of resistance intersect with visions of transnational identity and hopes for an alternative future. The historical context for this second work continues to be the fundamental transformations in conceptions of space and time associated with spread of global capitalism and how such changes affect the way intellectuals in East Asia conceive of political alliances, strategies and futures. In this context, the project not only concerns the manner in which Takeuchi re-imagines the politics of Asian identity, but also how such imaginaries relate to attempts to imagine a different world by Marxists in Japan and elsewhere in East Asia. The project about Asianism also has an important contemporary dimension and in this context I interrogate the work of various proponents of Asianism, such as Baik Yong-soe, Kuan-hsing Chen, Sun Ge and Wang Hui.

Dominique Hertzer
Dominique Hertzer hat im Fach Sinologie über den Text des Buches der Wandlungen (Yijing) aus dem Grabfund von Mawangdui promoviert und im Fach Geschichte der Medizin mit einer Untersuchung zum unterschiedlichen Verhältnis von Leib und Seele im Abendland sowie Geist und Körper in China. Sie hat eine Praxis für chinesische Medizin und Philosophie in Utting am Ammersee. Sie unterrichtet als Lehrbeauftragte an den Universitäten München, Göttingen und Oldenburg sowie in ihrem in ihrem eigenen Institut. Seit 2017 ist sie als Gastwissenschaftlerin am Cemeas der Universität Göttingen beschäftigt. Ihre Forschungsschwerpunkte sind das Verhältnis von Medizin und Philosophie, das Leib- Seele Verhältnis im Abendland und in China sowie die Philosophische Praxis. Dominique Hertzer veröffentlichte zuletzt: Durchgänge Tong 通 Eine Chinesische Philosophie des Kommunizierens.


30. September 2020
16:00 - 17:30



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Online (Zoom)


Online (Zoom)